September 8, 2010.
"A compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes he has the biggest piece." Ludwig Erhard
You're hungry; real hungry as a matter of fact. But you're also in a hurry. So you pull into a road side restaurant to grab a quick bite. You glance at the menu and nothing catches your fancy, so you decide to try the special of the day. But you don't want the French fries that come with the meal.
Once you get the waiter's attention, you ask if it's possible to substitute something for the fries. The waiter says no, they do not allow substitutions. But you explain you do not want the fries and would gladly pay a little extra for a salad or perhaps a baked potato in place of the fries. The waiter quickly blurts back, in a brusque take it or leave it tone, "I told you no substitutions."
The waiter obviously doesn't care what you want. Doesn't care what you think either. He just doesn't care, period. And it shows. You can either take it with fries - or go someplace else.
"Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend a little than to break." Jane Wells
How many times have you run into unbending, unyielding, unhappy people like this? People who refuse to listen to what you say - or what you think. Situations when all you wanted was for someone to care just a little bit - but they could care less? Times when you just want others to meet you halfway - and they won't budge an inch?
How did it make you feel? About yourself, about those who backed you into a corner? I've got a hunch it wasn't too great. All you wanted was a little help and instead received a nice, big smack in the mouth.
So how do you suppose others feel when you act in the same manner? When you refuse to listen? When you refuse to compromise? When you constantly exude a 'take it or leave it' attitude?
They probably want to go someplace else.
In my experience, people who exhibit a 'my way or the highway' mind-set rarely taste success on a regular basis. In fact, these people generally lose a lot more than they win. They lose customers. They lose friends. They lose respect and standing. They may not know it. Or even care. But day after day, their inflexible, discourteous demeanor costs them dearly.
"I've a theory that one can always get anything one wants if one will pay the price. And do you know what the price is, nine times out of ten? Compromise." Agatha Christie
It takes years and years to gain the respect and trust of others; years of work, commitment and effort. And it only takes a precious few moments to lose it. And make no mistake about it; being inflexible is a quick way to lose it big-time.
Inflexibility doesn't build rapport. It doesn't build goodwill. It doesn't build a business or enhance a relationship. In fact, it doesn't build anything but barriers and resentment and make others want to go someplace else.
Is that really what you want?
Hey, you want people to like you. You want people to listen, care and respect your opinion. Don't you imagine others feel the same way?
If you truly want to nurture your relationships, be it personal or business in nature, you need to show some flexibility. And be willing to bend a bit now and then.
"Our worth is not based upon the purity of our actions, but upon the integrity of the compromises we make." Bill Weber
Am I suggesting you compromise the things you know are right? Or the core beliefs you hold dear? Of course I'm not, not at all. These are things worth drawing a line in the sand over. But let's be honest, most of the things that cause you grief are little things that could be - and should be - worked out.
So work them out. And enjoy life.
From here on out, forget the 'my way or hit the highway' stuff. Toss the take it or leave approach out of the window. Learn to bend a little here, give a little there.
You'll discover that if you give people a choice, a chance, an opportunity to meet somewhere in the middle, they'll choose you.
The Bottom Line: Bend a little, receive a lot.
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